Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sweet Little Lies

Here's the thing:

You know that I've been panicked about work, right? I try to be chill, but Anxiety is my constant companion, pretty much 24/7. Do I need to find a new or an additional job? Do I need to start marketing my editing services, and how would I do that? What am I doing wrong?

Things have been light for my major client as well — they're not shunning me, they just don't have a lot of work to send. So when an editing job appears, I leap on it! And that's what I'm doing right now: editing 49 single-spaced dense pages about teacher education in Pakistan.

And if that's not the first rung on the Ladder of Enjoyment, I don't know what is.

When I have a job, especially a big job, I get very tunnel-visioned and only want to work on it . . . and that's why my pants are now on fire:
  • I told some friends that I'd attend their wine-and-jewelry-selling party last night. My usual practice is to RSVP yes to parties and then cancel at the last minute, but with my closest friends I'm starting to 'fess up to my partyphobia. However, I really did think I could handle this one, though I know I'm too broke to buy any jewelry (and I usually buy cheap jewelry at Claire's anyway, which suits me perfectly) — a glass of wine with my Dallin Auction pallies, then I'd duck out and be home in time to watch Survivor with Martini. But instead I chose to stay home and get more work done, so I feigned a migraine and e-mailed my excuses.
  • This morning I was supposed to have my teeth cleaned, but again: I'd rather work. Mornings are my most productive time! But if you cancel without 24 hours' notice, they charge you . . . unless there's an emergency. Once again, feigned migraine plus feigned barfing.
Bad bad bad girl. Clearly I will have a migraine today or tomorrow, to right the cosmic balance in the universe.

And while I'm on the topic of I'm Ridiculous, here's what I did yesterday. Remember how happy I was when I woke up and my weight was way down? Yeah, hold that thought.

But first a math lesson (goody!). There are three types of story problems:
  • Group problems: The rhythm here is part-part-whole; you know two elements and need to find the missing one. Examples: (1) Siobhan has three turtles and Liam has five. How many turtles do they have? (2) Samantha has two turtles and Darrin has some turtles; together they have four. How many turtles does Darrin have? (3) Lucy has some turtles and Linus has four; together they have six. How many turtles does Lucy have? [This last format, a missing "start" number, is always the hardest for kids.]
  • Change problems: You have a number, a change occurs, and you have another number. Examples: (1) Scarlett has five doughnuts, and she gives Rhett three. How many doughnuts does Scarlett have left? (2) Eleanor has four doughnuts, and Michele gives her some more. Now Eleanor has seven doughnuts. How many did Michele give her? (3) Betsy has some doughnuts, and she gives Tacy three. Betsy has three left. How many did Betsy start with? [Again, they have the hardest time with this format; finding the "start number" really throws them, since their instinct is to add whatever two numbers they see.]
  • Compare problems: A number is more or less than another number. How much more or less? OR, if a number is a certain amount more or less than another number, what is the original number? Examples: (1) Snowy is 15 and Puddles is 16. Who is older? How much older? (2) Tom is two years older than Dudley. Tom is 15; how old is Dudley? (3) Roger is three years younger than Gene. Gene is 13. How old is Roger? [This is the hardest one – both a missing start and subtraction required. Eek!]
I've been doing variations of these with my Math Practice kids since November, and yesterday my first group, all first-graders, was on fire; we worked on examples of all three, and though they had trouble with the hardest formats, they eventually got them. I was so proud. Then I did some hard subtraction problems with my next group, second-graders, and they likewise performed very well.

Rosy and glowing with confidence, I sailed into my last group, ready to do some fun word problems and revel in the joy of mathematics.

Thud. They couldn't solve a single problem I gave them, though, as I said, we've been doing variations of them, both as mental word problems and using manipulatives, for months and months now.

Not a single one.

I could have cried and cried. These poor kids. They will never pass math, they will never leave first grade, I am a failure as a teacher!

And it was 1:45 and I hadn't had lunch and I was starving and discouraged, so I did exactly the wrong thing and went to a restaurant to use food as medicine/comfort/therapy/succor. (Brunie once saw a book on my shelf titled When Food Is Love and said, "When isn't it?") At our local Thai place I had an entire order of crab rangoons (five plump deep-fried half moons of dough, meant to be shared) and an entire order of spicy eggplant with (fried) tofu (though I did ask for brown rice, clinging to some small semblance of virtue), and I further soothed what ailed me by consuming my namesake drink, two big glassfuls.

And sadly, it did help. For a while. Though I am an idiot.

I tried to offset my indulgence by walking briskly to Starbuck's up the street for a coffee (.36 miles, round trip), and then I didn't eat anything for the rest of the day, just coffee, and my weight was neither up nor down this morning, and that is something. But I am trying hard to break myself of at least three bad habits — drinking alcohol mid-day, eating an entire restaurant meal without bringing some home, and immediately turning to high-calorie restaurant food as therapy — and, wow, a triple whammy, right there.

Idiot, idiot, idiot. And a teaching failure, don't forget.

But today is a new day (albeit, one that is already tainted with a Big Fat Lie).

Onward! To teacher education in Pakistan!


—Lady C


  1. Helping with the gargantuan and very virtous task of training teachers, female teachers, in Pakistan is worth several orders of crab rangoon, fried tofu with WHITE rice and at least a case of Chardonnay. Just sayin.
    Mrs. Cynicletary
    p.s. The company from which the Pakistan job flows may be in line for a GIGANTIC contract there, which may bring you lots more virtuous work.

    1. You are my sweetest and most perfect friend. I am feeling *ridiculously* guilty this morning!! I just got such loving warm notes from the ladies I blew off last night...

      A case of Chardonnay sounds VERY GOOD right now. At 10 a.m. Well, it wouldn't be the first time.


    2. Good Neighbor AnneMarch 7, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      I agree with Mrs. Cynicletary... especially if they are teaching female teachers to actually teach FEMALE pupils!! Very important and virtuous work. World-changing work.

      However, just as my blooming snowdrops are now covered in snow, your best intentions were covered with excuses. Luckily, your resolve, like the flowers, is alive. Good for you for 'fessing up. All that honesty melts the excuses away and reveals what lies beneath: pure-white, hopeful, beautiful intentions. :) Go you!!! xoxo

    3. Definitely they're being trained to teach (and do outreach to) females, and the number of female students in this program is going up. All good!

      And that very night, I went down to my basement for a sweaty session of home zumba, so my resolve got a nice workout as well. Thanks for the butt-kicking pep talk, as always! :)

  2. aw sweetie, it is what it is. if you set up a paypal account i would hire you right now to edit my blog posts so that i could submit some of them to magazines etc. now, i've just typed something aloud that i'm really terrified to do. all we can do everyday is try and realize that one day does not make a life.
    ps, go pakistan. my 14 year old daughter is competing on saturday in 4H district public speaking. her speech is on girls education rights and malala yousafzai

    1. Angel! If you are remotely serious, let's do it! I will charge you *two dollars* - it would be such an honor to help you get your gorgeous words to a larger audience.

      "One day does not make a life" is a perfect sentiment. Thank you.

      And I am rooting for your daughter right this minute! (I *love* 4H. Husband and I recently enjoyed a 4H exhibit at the Topsfield Fair, and I became so moved that I started weeping over a display of squash.)